Sova asks for EC’s opinion about transfer of Constanta Port shares

The European Commission is to formulate an opinion regarding the Romanian authorities’ intention to transfer a 13 percent Constanta Port shares package to the local administration, Transport Minister Dan Sova announced Saturday in Tulcea, adding that procedures for approvals from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Justice will subsequently be initiated, according to ‘Bursa’ newspaper.
“The desire to maintain a centralized Ministry of Transport structure in the Constanta Port is not related to the European context. Moreover, when 20 percent of shares were transferred free of charge in 2008, no one consulted the European Union. On May 5, I notified the EC in this respect, underlining that the state and the ministry will still own and administrate the strategic infrastructure, and I asked for an opinion as to whether this transfer could result in illegal benefits for the Local Council of Constanta,” the minister said in the press conference.
If the Commission’s opinion is favorable, the Romanian authorities will proceed to obtain approvals from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice and subsequently list a package of 14 percent of the shares owned by the Constanta Port Administration on the stock exchange. “We are talking about a company that is in charge of port administration, but the shareholder is the Romanian state. The free-of-charge transfer of 13 percent of shares and the listing of 14 percent of APC (editor’s note – the Constanta Port Administration) shares on the stock exchange are both part of the ministry’s strategy concerning Romania’s role within the EU. We want the central and local authorities to be equally represented in the Constanta Port Shareholders’ Assembly, in accordance with the European model,” Dan Sova said further.
In reference to the possibility of protests against the Romanian authorities’ decision to be held in the Constanta Port, the Minister of Transport explained that “private operators are not connected to the APC shareholders’ assembly.” Other Romanian Danube ports – with the exception of Braila and Galati – will also be transferred over to local authorities, according to Sova, and the EC will offer a response on the legality of such procedures within no more than one month of the Romanian authorities’ notification.
Also yesterday in Tulcea, Minister Dan Sova met with businesspeople, union leaders, and county representatives. During a press conference held in Constanta on the same day, PNL chairman Crin Antonescu rejected Radu Mazare’s allegations that he had previously agreed to increase the Municipal Council’s shares quota of Constanta Port during the European Parliamentary election campaign. Consequently, Antonescu stated he never wanted to transfer the port to Constanta Town Hall. “This is backed by Liberal Minister Ramona Manescu’s opposition to the petition filed by Victor Ponta and Radu Mazare. But you know what the real problem is? Ponta is the Prime Minister and if he wants to transfer the port he should take responsibility for it, but he has not. If I am elected president and the Parliament passes a bill on this issue, I will not promulgate it and I’ll send it back in the Parliament,” PNL chairman Crin Antonescu said. Ramona Manescu, MEP candidate, added she does not believe the PM will give the port to Mazare.
Minister Sova: European Commission to approve memorandum on infrastructure works next year
The Memorandum adopted by the Government about two months ago, stipulating infrastructure works worth EUR 1.2 bln, will be approved by the European Commission next year, Transport Minister Dan Sova announced on Saturday in Tulcea, Agerpres reports. The document refers to the arrangement works on the Braila – Buzau motorway, dredging works on the Danube and works aimed at revamping the Giurgiu, Braila and Galati ports.
He also said that action will be taken this year as regards the arrangement works on the Constanta-Tulcea-Braila express road, after the tender launched in 2008 to carry out the infrastructure project was cancelled.

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